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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 4/15/21

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Bullpen game likely incoming against Rays; Yankees’ starters putting serious early strain on the bullpen; The new baseball is as confounding as ever; Story could be New York’s missing puzzle piece.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: The Yankees announced their pitching plans for the upcoming series with the Rays. They’ll push the four members of their current rotation back a day and roll with something of a bullpen day tomorrow. Right-hander Michael King looks likely to come up and make a start, with Albert Abreu having been optioned yesterday.

FanGraphs | Ben Clemens: There’s been a fair amount of buzz around baseball lately about, well, the baseball. MLB indicated before the season that they wanted to deaden the ball, but the early results are nothing short of confounding. The new ball appears to have led to some higher exit velocities, but also shorter carry on fly balls. Clemens digs into the data further and finds more contradictions, leaving us all to shrug about what’s going on with the game’s most important piece of equipment.

MLB.com | Bill Ladson: Here are a few notes from the Yankees coaches. Matt Blake commented on the team’s starters’ inability to provide length, with a non-Gerrit Cole starter going six innings just once. Blake acknowledged the tricky dance between protecting starters’ early pitch counts, while also monitoring the innings of their relivers. Also, Aaron Boone discussed the announcement that the Atlantic League would push the mound back one foot, calling the move “pretty drastic”, but noting that it was good MLB was trying to see if such a maneuver could improve the quality of the game.

NJ.com | Joe Giglio: With Gleyber Torres struggling with his duties as everyday shortstop, it’s not hard to find oneself staring longingly at the star-studded free-agent shortstop class of 2021. Corey Seager, Javier Baez, and Trevor Story all can hit free agency after this season, and Giglio argues that Story is the missing piece to the Yankees’ championship puzzle. Finding a way to move Torres to second does seem like a plausible way to improve this roster, but it’s difficult to envision the Yankees shelling out for a rental during the year.